Monday, September 28, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Iron Man #121-126

I have to admit that I don't especially care for the character of Iron Man/Tony Stark.  He's an arrogant, womanizing jerk and there never seems to be any attempt to paint him as otherwise.  I don't like him in the movies either.  The ending of the last Avengers movie did not have the tear-jerking effect for me that it was probably meant to.   As for this particular arc, the alcoholism element has been subtle so far and maybe I'll feel differently once I get to the end.  But if this is the best Iron Man story, I think I can do without the others.

On to Daredevil soon.  But first, due credit to the creators...

David Michelinie | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database

Writer David Michelinie was born May 6, 1948.  He has done significant work for both Marvel and DC.  For Marvel, he served as lead writer for both The Amazing Spider-Man and Iron Man, co-creating such characters as Venom, Carnage, Scott Lang and James Rhodes/War Machine, the last two both featured in Demon in a Bottle.  For DC, he wrote major stories for both Super-Man and Aquaman.

John Romita Jr. - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia

Artist John Romita Jr. was born August 17, 1956 in New York City.  He got an early start with Marvel as his father, John Romita Sr., was also an artist with the company.  Junior contributed his first character, Prowler, at age 13.  Junior went to Farmingdale State College where he studied advertising art and design, graduating in 1976.  Iron Man was his breakthrough.  Later, he was lead artist for several Marvel series, including The Amazing Spider-Man, and Daredevil.  More recently, he has done work for DC, contributing to both Superman and Batman titles.

My Recent Reads

Iron Man #121
Originally Published April 10, 1979
Writer: David Michelinie
Artist: John Romita Jr.
  • Namor rescues Iron Man from drowning.
Roxxon Energy Corporation | Villains Wiki | Fandom
via Villains Wiki
  • The two team up to battle the Roxxon Oil Company for control of a vibranium-rich island.
  • Poor losers, Roxxon Oil destroys the island so no one else can have it either.


Iron Man #122
May 10, 1979
Michelinie/Carmine Infantino
Wong-Chu (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • Mostly, a flashback to Iron Man's origin story, including his encounter with Wong-Chu.


Iron Man #123
June 10, 1979
  • Iron Man/Tony Stark is back in New York but his armor continues to malfunction (caused remotely by Justin Hammer, though Stark doesn't know it yet).
  • Stark takes Bethany on a romantic getaway to Atlantic City.
  • Their casino hotel is robbed by a trio of baddies, with whom Iron Man must obviously fight:
Melter | Villains Wiki | Fandom
via Villains Wiki
    • Melter
Blizzard (comics) - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
    • Blizzard
Whiplash (Marvel Comics) - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
    • Whiplash
  • The issue's title, "Casino Fatale," is a play on Casino Royale, the Ian Flemming novel.


Iron Man #124
July 10, 1979 
  • Iron Man gets a major assist from Bethany in defeating the deadly trio from the last issue. 
Stark Industries - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
  • Back in New York, Tony returns to work at Stark Industries.  It's a busy work day:
    • Tony frets over SHIELD's attempt to buy out his company.
    • Iron Man represents the company at a treaty signing with Ambassador Serge Kotznin at the UN.
  • In the arc's pivotal moment, a repulsor ray emits from Iron Man's armor, killing the ambassador.


Iron Man #125
August 10, 1979
  • The fallout from Kotznin's death:
    • Nearly all present, including Bethany, see it as murder.
    • Iron Man (Tony Stark) knows it was an accident, though he doesn't yet know it's Hammer's machinations once again.
    • Amazingly, the police believe Iron Man and let him go to find the real culprit.
    • In exchange, the police ask to hold Iron Man's armor.  Tony Stark gives them an inoperative suit to placate them.  (Lesson: billionaires are not to be trusted.)
  • Knowing he'll have to deal with this new, as yet unidentified, threat without Iron Man's help, Tony heads to Avengers mansion to get Cap to train him in hand-to-hand combat.  Surprise, surprise, there have been personnel changes with that particular team.  Most notable for me is the inclusion of Falcon:
Original Falcon/Agentk | Marvel: Avengers Alliance Fanfic Universe Wiki |  Fandom
via Marvel: Avengers Alliance FanFic Wiki
  • Stark asks his employee Scott Lang to find out who Hammer is, ultimately sending him to wring the truth out of Whiplash, now imprisoned on Ryker's Island.  Stark doesn't know that Lang is the new Ant-Man:
Ant-Man | Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki | Fandom
via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki
  • Whiplash tells Lang about Hammer.  Stark and Jim Rhodes head to Monaco, Hammer's stomping ground.


Iron Man #126
September 10, 1979
  • After a fight and a chase (in the last issue) then another fight on the beach, Stark is knocked unconscious then wakes up face-to-face with Justin Hammer himself.
  • In classic Bond villain style, Hammer explains his elaborate plan to destroy Stark Industries, his own primary competitor, rather than simply killing Stark.  
  • Eventually, Stark escapes his captivity though matters are twice complicated:
    • Hammer's entire villa is on an enormous ship in the middle of the ocean.
    • Hammer has recruited a whole Super-Army of costumed villains to help hold Stark.
  •  The Super-Army includes:
Vincent Patilio (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Leap-Frog
Man-Killer - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
    • Man-Killer
Porcupine (Marvel Comics) - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
    • Porcupine
Spymaster (Ted Calloway) (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Spymaster
Thomas Stuart (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Stiletto
Constrictor (comics) - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
    • Constrictor


  1. Michelinie is one of my favorite Spider-Man writers. His run on Amazing was one of the best.
    And I love Romita, Jr's art, though it did have to grow on me. Well, that's not exactly true. Hmm... His early stuff is fairly conventional, which didn't make an impression on me. Sometime later, I guess once he found his style, I was a little jarred by it, but I came to love it. It has a certain atmosphere to it.

    1. I am enjoying learning about the artists. Overall, I'd say style is relatively uniform in the late '70s compared to what one sees at the comic store now. But you can see the evolution, especially with the more gifted creators. It's fun.


    2. And, though I really liked JimLee, I preferred Portacio, because his work looked like... action is the only way I can describe it. Like, Lee's work was amazing, but it was like a photograph people posed for while Portacio's stuff looked almost like it was moving.

  2. Its curious how many Marvel Iron men have spawned over the years all of whom are based mostly in New York - Iron Fist, Iron Lad, Iron Man and Iron patriot but who was first beats me.

    1. Do you just mean characters with the word "iron" in their name?

    2. Ha! No doubt someone has already looked into this but it would be funny to know which element in the periodic table is best represented in the names of Marvel characters. Fe seems a strong favorite.

    3. I'm a total sucker for such things. I'll have to check it out.